Presidential Debate 2012: Take 1

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Fifty million Americans tuned in last night to watch President Obama and Governor Romney discuss pressing domestic policy issues in the first of three nationally televised debates. The important topics of the night were the economy, health care, and education, with the largest focus on the economy. Numerous statistics and facts were discussed and debated throughout the evening, leaving the crowd pretty confused on which facts were true and which were lies. After a night to fact check, there have been numerous reports released cataloguing the veracity of claims made on both sides.

For the energy proponents out there, concern grew once Romney stated that:

In one year, you [President Obama] provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s what 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives”

Not only does Romney fail to provide accurate numbers for this statement, he follows this up by stating that half the companies funded by the “$90 billion” have gone out of business. Fact checkers and people involved in the green energy world went wild by this statement and following the debate, provided more accurate information.

In a Washington Post article, Factchecking the First Presidential Debate of 2012, they cleared up a few of these points by saying that

The president’s 2013 budget called for elimination of tax breaks for oil subsidies, which the White House estimated at $4 billion per year. Dividing $90 billion — the federal money that Romney claims went toward clean energy — by $4 billion in breaks for the oil industry amounts to 22.5 years, not 50 years.

It’s also worth noting that the $90 billion was not “breaks,” but a combination of loans, loan guarantees and grants through the stimulus program, and they were spread out over several years rather than one, as Romney claimed.

Furthermore, not all of the money went to the “green energy world.” About $23 billion went toward “clean coal,” energy-efficiency upgrades, updating the electricity grid and environmental clean-up, largely for old nuclear weapons sites. — Josh Hicks and Steven Mufson”

Romney’s other point about the companies going out of business was also a false fact. Most of the companies and projects that this fund went to support are still in business, minus a handful. You can read more about this fact check in another Washington Post article entitled A Closer Look at Obama’s “$90 Billion for green jobs”

After watching this debate and reading the facts, it is evident that President Obama has put a stronger focus on green energy while Romney seems to have more focus on the fossil fuels we already depend on like oil, natural gas, and coal. The Sierra Club put together a straightforward comparison of Obama’s plans to Romney’s plan that further explains which way it seems the candidates are leaning in terms of energy. You can view that here.

Make sure to stay informed as the other debates roll out this month so you can make the best decision come November! If clean energy is a main ballot issue for you, check back on the ASES website as we follow each of the candidates stance and plan for the future.

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